MF 439 : Writing series: Kevin Hall
Updated: Sep 22
We kick off the remainder of season 10 with author Kevin Hall. Today, Kevin talks about his third career as an author, how a chance conversation with his grandson led him to write one of his memoirs, and the larger mission that inspired him to write his upcoming third book. More at www.bemovingforward.com.
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Author Natalie Goldberg once said that "writers live two lives." In the case of Kevin Hall case, you might say he has lived four of them. As Kevin shares on our conversation, he started out as a writer but of a very different kind than what he specializes in today. Kevin was a programmer, fluent in several coding languages. Later, he transitioned into project management where he wrote white papers as part of his duties.
Today, Kevin is enjoying retirement but that doesn't mean he's slowed down or spending his days at the green hitting golf balls. His third life revolves around his family; he's taken on the mantle of family raconteur with stories of his life and of the family's lineage. It was during one of these storytime periods that his oldest grandson asked Kevin to tell him about his own childhood. Little did that precocious youngster know that this question would awaken Kevin's fourth life, that of author.
"They would ask, me, grandpa what were you like as a kid? What was it like then when you were young? ... I thought to myself, I don't want my grandkids not to know my history ... I decided then, let me at least record it." -Kevin Hall
Kevin began his writer's journey at the kitchen table where he and his wife share a computer. He started tapping away at the keys, documenting and recording various stories about his childhood. Along the way, Kevin incorporated the history of the places that his family had called home, including New York and Minnesota. Notably, as these stories found a new life, so did Kevin. The process of going from narrator to scribe eventually led Kevin to write two books: Ilion My Childhood, My Memories, and My Rosemont MN Memories.
"The first one was done by the seat of my pants. It's just a matter of sitting in the chair and writing." -Kevin Hall
As Kevin explains, the first two books were his life's story with insights into the locations connected to his family's history. By publishing these, he was inviting readers to metaphorically sit with his grandkids and listen to the stories he had been telling for years.
"So I start with an outline and a lot of times what I'll do is I'll be thinking, and I'll say 'yeah, that's good' and I'll just jot that down. And another time, 'oh yeah, I like that too!' and jot that down ... now I've got to put them into some kind of outline." -Kevin Hall
Today, Kevin is working on his third book, Signs, an ambitious compilation of stories, interviews, and accounts of seemingly inexplicable events with strong spiritual and ecumenical undertones. As you listen to Kevin's story, you'll understand how his prior careers as a programmer and project manager contributed to his ability to start and finish his books. You'll also learn a great outlining tactic for organizing a panoply of ideas. Moreover, you'll witness how Kevin's author journey has evolved from introspection to something much greater and grander in scope.
Finally, Kevin has some sage advice for Moving Forward listeners who want to write that first book but still aren't sure if they can or should.
"Keep the trash out of your head. Don't let that imposter syndrome ... why can't you write? Why aren't you just as good as the other writers out there? ... you'll never know until you write that book." -Kevin Hall
For more on Kevin's story, check out MF 439.
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